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And then There Were Eight
The Men Of I Company 442nd Regimental Combat Team
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And then There Were Eight
The Men Of I Company 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Published by Item Chapter 442nd Veterans Club
2003, 457 pages, paperback.
Description from the Title Page
Quotes from Back Cover
List of Authors

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Description from the Title Page

The title of this volume, And the There Were Eight, arises from events covering a period of 24 days, October 15 to November 8, 1944, during which the 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought a horrific battle against heavily armed and well entrenched German forces in northeast France.

The 442nd had joined the 141st, 142nd, and 143rd Infantry Regiments, as part of the 36th Division, in a mission to clear the thickly wooded Vosges Mountains of enemy units.

On October 15, the 442nd entered combat and after eight days of intense fighting successfully achieved it initial assigned objective: the taking of three villages neighboring the Vosges Mountains, Bruyeres, Biffontaine and Belmont.

The 442nd, when relieved on October 23, was a badly battered unit. Barely two days later, it received divisional orders to rescue the beleaguered 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment. This unit, having been surrounded for five days by enemy forces, was at risk of complete annihilation. The attacks of the depleted 142nd and the 143rd Regiments were proving ineffectual to save 275 men reported to be still "active."

Under the daily exhortation of Division Commander Major General John Dahlquist to rescue the endangered unit at all costs, the 442nd reached the "Lost Battalion" on October 30. The toll was tremendous: the rescuers suffered over 800 casualties to free 211 survivors of the Battalion.

The 442nd was finally relieved on November 8. The official daily entry for that date in the Combat Operations Journal of the 442nd Regimental Combat reads: "The heavy fighting that the regiment has been through was reflected by the fighting strength of the line companies. I Co. had 4 riflemen; K Co. had 17 riflemen: …" However, intense research and cross-interviewing of I Company survivors of this historic battle lead the Item Chapter Memoirs Project Team to conclude, "and the there were eight."

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The memoirs of the men of Company I, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, constitute the core of this book. Most of them are told by the surviving men themselves; a few of them, by their family members or friends.

There is no central theme in this book. There can't be one because each story is told by an individual with a unique background, facing unique experiences. Thus, the book is not intended to convey a single viewpoint. It is simply the product of former comrades-in-arms responding to a broad call to send in stories and personal photos of their wartime experiences.

There is, however, a common thread underlying the stories - an uncommon loyalty to country and to their comrades and families - which, after the war, turned into an uncommon bond of friendship and devotion to one another that survives the passage of time and the separation of distance. Highlighted is the one battle - the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" - for which I Company along with other units of the 442nd has gained national recognition. Stories by men involved in the battle - not only the men of I Company but also the field observers of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, the 442nd medics, and the survivors of the liberated "Lost Battalion," 141st Infantry Regiment - have been included. Barney Hajiro, recipient of the Medal of Honor, does not speak for himself; but his comrades and the military citation itself do so.

Presented also are historical perspectives that reveal why the general population of Japanese ancestry in the Territory of Hawaii did not face the harsh treatments of their counterparts on the West Coast. Key individuals reflect on these contrasting happenings and on the eventual formation of the 442nd Combat Team. History is revisited at a very personal level by a few I Company men.

Finally, but actually at the beginning of our book, we honor those comrades, who did not survive the battles to tell their own stories, by presenting photos and brief biographical profiles of each of them.

This book embodies a sharing of aspects of our life-transforming experiences and our reflections on them. Obviously, it offers only a glimpse into how we as infantrymen were trained and went into battle in "Go for Broke" style, a glimpse into what sustained us and enabled us to achieve what we did so that we could proudly, "without shame," return to our families.

We are grateful for having been given this privilege of serving our country and its people. We are grateful to our parents for having instilled in us cultural values that enabled us to persevere with courage and honor throughout our military service.

Our work is not done. We shall continue to serve our community by sharing our knowledge and experiences, and by passing on the legacy of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to succeeding generations of young people.

As you read the written words and view the many images, we hope you might hear or sense the sounds of grief, pain, and laughter. We hope too that this book will contribute towards greater understanding of the impact of war and greater appreciation of what is entailed in living responsibly in a precious democracy such as ours.

Please note that these personal stories are memories put into writing, memories that, for over half a century, were not reinforced through retellings to family or friends. They were rekindled only whenever we got together as "war buddies." Thus the details may differ, but the events nonetheless did occur. Also, in the editing process we consulted sources deemed reliable; and in cases where conflicting data were found, we made educated guesses. In spite of these diligent efforts, errors of commission and omission are possible. I therefore apologize for any inadvertent omissions and for any inaccuracies or misinformation contained herein.

Edward M. Yamasaki
Chair, I Company, 442nd RCT, Memoirs Project
Honolulu, Hawaii

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Quotes from Back Cover

Knowing how my parents were depending on my income to help sustain a decent living, it was a difficult decision to make. When I consulted my father, his response was, "Shikata ga nai" "It cannot be helped. You have to serve. This is your country."
Futao "Gunner" Terashima

Like all the other Mainlanders, I had difficulty understanding the pidgin English of Hawaii's niseis. My first encounter was when I heard the expression, "stay get." One day when I was on KP duty, the iceman came around to deliver ice at the mess hall. I yelled to the mess sergeant, "Do you want any ice?" He responded, "Stay get!" How was I to know that his response was, "I have." All I heard was, "Get!" The sergeant gave me hell when he found out that I had told the iceman to bring in the ice.
Allen Hisayoshi Okamoto

The guys ahead all of a sudden yelled, "There're Germans up on that hill." Innocent as we were, not knowing what real combat was like and not having fired a single shot as yet, we all ran up front to see. In a split second, the Germans started firing their machine guns. "Burrp, burrp, Burrp."…We then realized we were in a real war, that those Germans out there were actually trying to kill us.
Hiroshi Aruga

On VE Day, Third Platoon was relaxing, sitting on our helmets, behind a two-story red brick building in northern Italy. We received word that the German Army had surrendered; the war was over! No one jumped around or celebrated or even yipped. I remember we just quietly sat on our helmets, without a word, each deep in his own thoughts.
Walter "Joe" Tamotsu Okumoto

War is ugly. One sees the destruction of bodies, of homes, of villages and cities, and maiming of people, children and adults. I would not recommend or encourage anyone to volunteer his service to engage in such carnage. But, for me, if it is for the defense and freedom of our great nation, I would not hesitate to live my life again as a soldier.
Sadaichi Kubota

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List of Authors

Bert Akiyama
Carol Lynn Akiyama
Tom Bunkichi Aoki
Takashi Aragaki
Teruo Aratani
Hiroshi Aruga
Jotoku Asato
Joseph Blair III, Col. (ret.)
George Buto
Alice Byrne
Hiram Hiromu Doi
Makoto Fujioka
George Teruo Funai
Walter Jitsumi Furukawa
Vance Gerkovich
Albert Masao Gokan
Gilbert Kusuo Hakoda
Fred Ryoso Hamaishi
Thomas Susumu Harimoto
Robert Masayuki Hattori
Masanobu Higa
Martin Higgins
Russell Koichi Hirata
Florence Hongo
Nobo Ikuta
Edwin Shigeshi Imamura
Robert Masami Iso
Akira Ito
Susumu Ito
Yoshio Ito
Arthur Iwasaki
Victor S. Izui
Louise Kashino
Terumi Kato
Masatsu Kawamoto
Carol Kawanami
Larry Takeshi Kazumura
Masashi Kobashigawa
Irene Kohara
Kiyoki Koki
Dorothy Kreskosky
Sadaichi Kubota
Masaji Marumoto (interview)
Violet Matsumoto
Shigenori Matsumoto
Fred Mitsuharu Matsumura
Yuki Minaga
Ronald Seiichi Minami
Richard Miura Family
George Joji Miyashiro
George Morihiro
George Murakami
Ikito Muraoka
Kimitomo Muromoto
Kazuo Muto
Asayo Naguwa
Henry Isao Nakada
William Izumi Nakagawa
Sadao Nakama
Ben Mitsuo Nakamura
Masayoshi Nakamura
Tokuzo Nishikawa
Bert Noboru Nishimura
Elizabeth Nishioka
Evelyn Oishi
George Oiye
Yoshitaka Robert Okada
Alien Hisayoshi Okamoto
Kenneth Seikichi Okuma
Walter Tamotsu Okumoto
Mitsuo Oshiro
Richard Masaichi Oshiro
George Nobuo Oshita
Margaret Yorita Oshita
Charles Shigeru Ota
Henry Hitoshi Otsuki
Kazuma Oyama
Marie Ozawa
Robert K. Sakai
Susumu Sakaida
Matsuji Sakumoto
Takashi Senzaki
Ellen Shiigi
Sumio Frank Shimada
Toshiyuki Shinozawa
Richard Utaka Shinto
Mamoru Shirota
Junji Shiroyama
Kiichi Sonoda
Carol Sullivan
Ichiro Suzuki
Clarence Tenki Taba
Hideo Takahashi
Suguru Takahashi
Kazuo Takekawa
Shuji Taketomo
Iris Tamayose
Harold Haruo Tanaka
Natsuko June Teragawa
Futao Terashima
Motoshi Tokunaga
Astro Tortolano
Lloyd Tsukano
Ted Tsukiyama
Yukito Umeda
Ernest Nobumaro Uno
Fred Matao Watanabe
Walter Hitoshi Watanabe
Thomas Takashi Watanuki
Harold Joji Watase
Jack Wilson
Kiyoshi Yabuki
Mitsuo Yakuma
Henry Takashi Yamada
Edward I. Yamaguchi
Edward Masaru Yamasaki
Andy Sakae Yamashiro
Daniel Tokuo Yamashita
Junwo Yamashita
Norman Katsuji Yokoyama
Shigeo Yoshida (interview)

Excerpts from
Boyhood to War by
Dorothy Matsuo

Excerpts from
"P.S. Please Send More
Sauerkraut Juice"
by Dorothy Davenport

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Most recent revision Septmeber 6, 2003